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Jun 2, 2020

Coatings for shoe bottoms could improve traction on slick surfaces

Posted by in category: materials

Inspired by the Japanese art of paper cutting, MIT engineers have designed a friction-boosting material that could be used to coat the bottom of your shoes, giving them a stronger grip on ice and other slippery surfaces.

The researchers drew on kirigami, a variation of origami that involves cutting paper as well as folding it, to create the new coating. Laboratory tests showed that when people wearing kirigami-coated shoes walked on an icy surface, they generated more friction than the uncoated shoes.

Incorporating this coating into shoes could help prevent dangerous falls on ice and other hazardous surfaces, especially among the elderly, the researchers say.

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